Not exactly a shopping spree!

We live in an environment that uses cash more than plastic, and one with an exchange rate of 2.5 of our new currency to our old one. That means on days like today you really notice how much you’re spending. I say ‘days’ but we haven’t had a day like today since we’ve arrived. We weren’t much in the habit of having them before we left and I don’t suppose we’ll have another like it in a long time. Today was the day when we spent the money we’d been putting aside to buy essential items for our new apartment. These purchases can be roughly summarised as a microwave – or ‘magnetron’ as a more exciting translation on the box declared! – a table and chairs, cleaning paraphernalia and food.

We visited six stores this afternoon, joined for most of it by Ben and Mirja. It was warm and we enjoyed clear blue skies as our trip took us south out of town. Mirja’s from the Arctic Circle and Ben’s from Wales; neither places famed for their good weather! They did some spending of their own, although not quite on the scale we did. We must have looked quite the picture: four obviously ‘foreign’ people in a battered Toyota combi van filled with an eclectic assortment of carrier bags. Carrier bags are not ‘evil’ here; you’d get very strange looks if you tried not to use one. So now are cupboards are stocked with food, particularly all those little things you never think to buy but it’s so hard to cook without. We have a fully functioning kitchen for the first time in almost three months. Rowan is making brownies in celebration!

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